About Wally Moon: Early Life
Born April 3, 1930 and named for Wallace Wade, the legendary college football coach at Alabama and Duke Universities, Wally Moon grew up in the cotton-picking country of Craighead County Arkansas, in the little town of Bay. It was so little, Moon remembers, "We couldn't field a baseball team. So, as a youngster, I used to hitchhike 16 miles to Jonesboro with our gang to play."

Wally's father, Bert, played baseball with an Arkansas team called the Red Birds, and Wally liked to wear his dad's uniform. But, better yet, he liked playing the game. When he wasn't playing baseball, young Moon was on the sandlot basketball courts or fishing and hunting with his dad and his brother, Wayne. In between, he found time for the Boy Scouts.

At Bay High School, Wally played both baseball and basketball, and though he made All-District in baseball, he considered a career on the hard court. Later, at Texas A&M University, where he obtained his undergraduate degree, he starred again in basketball and baseball. In 1950, baseball offers started to come in.

Moon played three summers of minor-league ball with Omaha of the Western League and returned each fall and spring to A&M for more education and his job as freshman baseball coach. It was during the off-season of 1951 that Moon met his future wife, Bettye Knowles. After a six-week courtship, Wally and Bettye married…and remain married 57 years later.

In the spring of 1952, Wally received his master's degree in administrative education. Despite a lukewarm season at Omaha that summer, he was offered a minor-league contract at Rochester for the following year. By this time, Wally had established himself as an up-and-coming young baseball coach at A&M. Signing the Rochester contract would mean less money and an uncertain future-at a time when the Moons were expecting their first child. "But, I wanted to take another shot at baseball," Wally says, "to prove to myself that I could make it."

And, make it he did, in a big way in 1954.

Looking Back
early life
´54 rookie of the year
championship catalyst
after retirement
wally today